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Vic police won't tolerate clowning around

AAP logoAAP 7/10/2016 Melissa Meehan and Luke Costin

It's not Halloween yet but some are taking to Melbourne streets in creepy clown costumes, prompting clown hunts and a warning from police that any threatening behaviour won't be tolerated.

A statement on the Victoria Police Facebook page suggests people might be copying creepy clown incidents in the United States.

It began with reports of clowns trying to lure children into woods in South Carolina.

That led to clown groups sprouting across the US and mass clown hunts in other areas.

Time magazine reports that while many incidents in America were hoaxes, a handful resulted in arrests.

The magazine also reported an incident of a clown, armed with a knife, chasing a boy through a New York subway station.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman could not give details on where the clowns had been sighted in Melbourne.

But she warned "any intimidating and threatening" behaviour would be investigated by police.

One Facebook page, claiming to be the Melbourne Clown Association, warns residents of the city to "be ready" to face their horrific scares.

Another Facebook page with around 3000 likes has promised to hunt down clowns in the northern suburbs.

"We ain't clownin' around, we will see who will be having the last laugh," it says.

"Expect us in your streets."

Police on Friday afternoon said their warning applied to both those dressing up as clowns and those threatening to harm them.

In May last year, the ABC reported a person wearing a clown mask and a business suit unnerved some commuters at Southern Cross station.

He was later revealed to be a 14-year-old boy enrolled at a Melbourne circus school.

Numerous other "clown purge" Facebook pages have cropped up around Australia, including in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide.

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